Monday, October 19, 2020

It's VUELTA time! Or is it?

So SUPPOSEDLY the Vuelta will start TOMORROW!!! However, Spain, among MANY other countries, is having a resurgance of the ever-present Corona virus. The Giro is fighting hoping to finish, with riders and staff testing positive. So we will soon see if the Vuelta even gets the wheels down to start, let-along make it thru all 21 stages. IF the Vuelta makes it to the starting line tomorrow, hopefully the organization will do a MUCH better job than they did in the Tour with the CovIdiots. As in ban them completly from being on the climbs. Putting law enforcement along the route in key places with ticketing authority, and start whacking the dumbasses who refuse to wear masks with a hefty fine. That's how you get peoples attention...hit them in the pocket-book. With the Giro currently underway, what the Vuelta team composition would (will?) be is my question...I haven't heard any announcement yet from the teams as to their rosters. Sagan is in Italy with his team after a pretty short time off after le Tour...and it sounds like he's upped his game and ridden his way back to glory with his FIRST stage win of the 2020 season! I have no idea what kind of team Jumbo and Ineos will field...will they be putting a podium group at the start, or just a team to be there? Obviously le Tour got the premier teams from pretty much everybody. And so...I'm back on days again...hooray! (I think)...turns out I kind of like the 2pm to 10:30pm shift...I can ride any day I want early before the winds kick up...AND with the STUPID time-change coming up fast it will start getting dark by 5pm..so getting off even at 3pm isn't so great anymore. But it's not my choice...we all are back on days (for now...Covid could change that if we have any kind of resurgance here...which is a distinct possibility considering how things are going right now. OK...gotta get to work...have a wonderful socially distant day, and VIVA la Vuelta!

Monday, September 21, 2020

2020 Tour de France, the Tour that almost wasn't...thoughts and memories

 Gosh, there is SO MUCH to talk about when you say 2020 Tour de France! I think I will start a few rungs down from the top with Richie Porte, who fought tooth and nail to get onto the podium. Well done Richie, I think the entire world has been rooting for him to break the bad-luck streak and do this. And just in time, as I don't see him getting the chance with his new team next year (Death Star...darn it Richie!) He overcame a LOT to do it. The flat on the dirt section (stage 18 I think) was terrifying, but he got a bike and pulled his way back. And then to take enough time in Stage 20 to get on the podium, that was quite special!

Next: Sagan, and the Green Jersey. CVV and Chris talked about this a lot, but it was SO SPECIAL this year. Setting the clock back to when he was relegated for over-aggressiveness against Wout in the sprint where he had taken 2nd (30 points), and lost that AND 13 more points...that was crushing. And a man in his prior leadout train has been the one to take the green! When Bora went out the very next day and destroyed the Peleton putting Peter in position to take max points in the intermediate sprint (which they did for several other stages) was stunning, most especially to the rest of the peleton who were expecting easy stages until the end. Sagan made the entire Tour more fun to watch as he gave it his very best to regain the Green. Sadly it never happened, and we all are left wondering if this was a 1-time "off year" or is this the inevitable decline of an aging cyclist. Sagan hasn't won a race this year, let-alone in the Tour. I truly hope it was the madness of this Pandemic-year and the stopping/restarting of the season that left him in less than stellar condition. We will see next year. 

Americans in the Tour: Sepp Kuss, Neilson Powless, and uhm, what was his name, the guy I don't recall seeing even ONCE in action this year...oh yeah...TJ. I saw (not counting stage 21) that he finished in 90th place! This for a former "GC guy". Say what? My how the mighty have fallen. Seriously...I can't recall seeing him in action ONCE this Tour. But that can't be said about Powless nor Kuss! Powless was in a bunch of break-aways when he wasn't directly supporting Rigo, and almost won a stage if I recall. And Kuss? DAMN can that kid CLIMB! That he was repeatedly the last man standing with Roglic in the big mountains says it all. The Durango Kid. Pretty sure I will remember him! It was really fun watching him when it was his turn to go in front, how he'd check with Primo for orders and then do it. 

Bernal and Quintana. Wow. What epic collapses they both suffered. Were they just not ready or was it something else? Q wasn't hardly ever in any contention, and when the climbs got steep instead of flying he faltered. Bernal and his team, SO dominant over the last near decade, were on their back-feet pretty much since day 1. How quickly they fell and how fast Jumbo took over the mantle of SUPER-TEAM. Both Bernal and Quintana had won big races quite young, and everybody was saying how they will be future multi-Tour winners, and that doesn't appear to be the case. I hope we aren't saying that about Pogacar in the coming years...it's a LOT of pressure to perform at the highest level in the biggest race, especially when your pay-check has shot up expecting that. 

Covidiots. We've all talked about this a lot, and even on the TT when the crowds were gathered, there they were. LOTS of them. Each time throughout the Tour when the roads were steep and the crowds were making a tiny passage for the riders, I'd watch the faces of the crowd as the camera/rider went by. By my rough guess, 1 in 20 to 1 in 30 did NOT have a mask on! Seriously...in every bunch of fans if you pause the video and count, there they were. Within a foot or 2 of the poor rider just trying to get thru, no mask, SCREAMING (and blowing Covid-spit) at the approaching riders. It is truly amazing that none of the riders "got it". We will see in the next week or so if that continues, or did some get infected from the last week of racing. I seriously don't get it...WHY won't they wear masks? Just how selfish can a person be? 

OK...I need to head to work, didn't get close to all my thoughts...so I will post this and head in...feel free to vent/rave/whatever about the amazing race we just witnessed!